The Flint Heart

The Flint Heart

Book - 2011
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A magical amulet brings power and despair to those who touch it.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780763647124
Branch Call Number: J 398.2 PAT
Characteristics: 288 p. :,col. ill. ;,22 cm.

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QueenBoadicea Jun 18, 2015

This storybook was abridged from the edition by Eden Phillpotts and retains the childlike appeal of the original. Whimsical and yet sobering, “The Flint Heart” is that best of all fairy tales (this one with actual fairies in it)—one with a gentle moral along with harsh descriptions of the bloody steps that are taken on the road to power.

The titular object corrupts nearly everyone it touches, much like the shards of the mirror set free in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. (Why Charles, who has the heart full into his hands, doesn’t simply shatter it with a good hard stamp of his feet or blows from another rock is never suggested, which is mildly puzzling; the thing is made from flint not a diamond.) But the book doesn’t mire us down entirely in this dilemma. Instead, we are treated to the myriad characters of the many creatures peripherally affected by the flint heart’s existence. There are pontificating herons, quiet owls, nasty badgers, pompous fairies and the enigmatic but temperate Zagabog who helps solve the mystery with touching humility.

The illustrations by John Rocco are splendid. Each one seems illuminated with an inner glow, even those that are bound in shadow. He’s also very good at ascribing anthropomorphic features to beasts; the illustration of the animals having a laugh at the expense of an oblivious conceited turtle is an excellent example.

If you’ve never heard of this early 20th-century story, try finding it and reading it aloud to the children. It deserves to be brought to the attention of a new generation of readers.

FindingJane Jun 18, 2015

This storybook was abridged from the edition by Eden Phillpotts and retains the childlike appeal of the original. Whimsical and yet sobering, “The Flint Heart” is that best of all fairy tales (this one with actual fairies in it)—one with a gentle moral along with harsh descriptions of the bloody steps that are taken on the road to power.

The titular object corrupts nearly everyone it touches, much like the shards of the mirror set free in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. (Why Charles, who has the heart full into his hands, doesn’t simply shatter it with a good hard stamp of his feet or blows from another rock is never suggested, which is mildly puzzling; the thing is made from flint not a diamond.) But the book doesn’t mire us down entirely in this dilemma. Instead, we are treated to the myriad characters of the many creatures peripherally affected by the flint heart’s existence. There are pontificating herons, quiet owls, nasty badgers, pompous fairies and the enigmatic but temperate Zagabog who helps solve the mystery with touching humility.

The illustrations by John Rocco are splendid. Each one seems illuminated with an inner glow, even those that are bound in shadow. He’s also very good at ascribing anthropomorphic features to beasts; the illustration of the animals having a laugh at the expense of an oblivious conceited turtle is an excellent example.

If you’ve never heard of this early 20th-century story, try finding it and reading it aloud to the children. It deserves to be brought to the attention of a new generation of readers.

olson_ys Feb 20, 2012

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a magical heart was carved out of flint. But this flint heart was not magical in a good way; it was magical in a bad way, making its wearer cruel and greedy and unfeeling. When this story begins the flint heart has been forgotten about, hidden for thousands of years in an ancient grave. It is found quite by accident by a kindly farmer, named Billy Jago, who turns instantly into an unkind and abusive bully upon picking up the heart. Lucky for Billy, two of his children, Charles and Unity, are determined to find out why their father has changed and what they can do to change him back. To do this, they decide to visit the Pixies. With the help of the Pixies, and other magical beings, Charles and Unity are able to free their father from the power of the flint heart. The story doesn’t end here, though, because soon another creature has found the flint heart and turned into an ill-tempered beast. It is up to Charles, Unity, and the magical creatures they meet to get rid of the flint heart, once and for all. This charming fantasy is a rewritten version of a book written one hundred years ago by the author Eden Phillpott. A lovely and fun read complete with illustrations.

debwalker Jul 27, 2011

"Refashioning of Eden Phillpotts's 1910 tale.

"The authors transplant readers to the Stone Age, where chiefs reign rather than kings, and one man, Fum, serves many roles--Lord Chief Justice and Poet Laureate among them. Fum is also a craftsman, and the young warrior Phuttphutt ("Phutt" for short) arrives at his door to request a charm that will give him "a hard heart" that will help put him in charge. "If I make you such a charm," Fum advises, "there'll be no more peace in the tribe until you are chief." Phutt, forewarned, commissions the charm anyway, and events evolve precisely as Fum had predicted. When at last Phutt dies, Fum buries the Flint Heart with him. But that is not the end of the wicked charm.

The Patersons establish the notion of lasting legends and enduring magic as they fast forward to "the England of one hundred years ago," and the Flint Heart's influence on the Jago family. Charles, age 12, and his father happen upon the heart while digging for something else, and its effect on Mr. Jago is instantaneous.....Artwork with a three-dimensional depth. He breathes life into the wildly diverse characters,...... This book could quickly become the family read-aloud favorite. It's old-fashioned bookmaking and storytelling, with a cast of characters and message for modern times."
--Jennifer M. Brown
Shelf Awareness
July 27, 2011

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joycemas
Jul 03, 2014

joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 10

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joycemas
Jul 03, 2014

An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against his better judgment, the tribe's magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman reemerges to corrupt a kindly farmer, an innocent fairy creature, and a familial badger. Can Charles and his sister Unity, who have consulted with fairies such as the mysterious Zagabog, wisest creature in the universe, find a way to rescue humans, fairies, and animals alike from the dark influence of the Flint Heart? This humorous, hearty, utterly delightful fairy tale is the sort for an entire family to savor together or an adventurous youngster to devour.

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